The management, in pursuance of its objective of providing the best IT service to its clientele, had envisaged a Computer Maintenance Unit (CMU) for the whole organization. The CMU will be an extension of the Computer Services Section (CSS), and its main responsibility will be to repair, upgrade, and maintain computer machines and other peripherals including, but not limited to, printers, cabling structure, and other network devices.
Inasmuch as the CMU will exist to complement the tasks and activities of the CSS, the following development plan proposal encompasses both entities and will cover an important part in the development of the whole learning development centre from which they are a part.
The Computer Maintenance Unit addresses several primary problems which are:
1. Lack of qualified and competent technicians that are specifically assigned only to repair and upgrade defective computer machines for the organization and its stakeholders.
2. Lack of adequate facilities and tools to properly and efficiently do the required repair and upgrades.
3. Inadequacy of CSS staff to regularly monitor and manage the network infrastructure of the organization for optimum performance.
In order to address these problems, the project is committed to the following objectives:
1. To build up competent manpower to provide efficient services to the stakeholders through computer repair and upgrades;
2. To constantly maintain above 95% computer systems utilization in terms of hardware operation; this means that less than 5% of hardware should not be operating properly at any given point in time;
3. To reduce network / server downtime to less than 2%;
4. To increase the number of other services to stakeholders annually by more than 10% and reduce computer repair services to the minimum.
Since its inception, the CSS – from which the CMU will be a part – has recorded numerous achievements which include among others:
1. Configuration and setup of various servers and domains, such as the organizational domain, the learning resources domain, the SMS server, the Moodle server, and others;
2. Setup and management of the organization's Internet and Intranet infrastructure;
3. Establishment of various computer learning laboratories and maintenance of hardware components inside these laboratories;
4. Formulation of various policies and guidelines with respect to the utilization and management of IT assets of the organization.
However, due to limitations and constraints in its resources, the CSS had always felt that it can improve further the services it provides to its clientele and in the process make the operation of the Section more efficient. Thus, the development of the CMU is proposed, along with the objectives identified in the earlier section of this paper.
Over the next three (3) years, and through the development of the Computer Maintenance Unit, the CSS is hoping to achieve the following goals:
1. Increase the computer machines used by learners/trainees by 5-7% every year, and reduce the percentage utilization of computer laboratories from 75-80% to a manageable 50%; this will in turn give trainees more time to use the labs for other learning activities such as research, assignments, projects, and the like;
2. Increase the number of computer laboratories by at least one (1) new lab per year;
3. Achieve 100% provision of computer machines to all staff – trainors and technicians – in which these machines should be at least the second latest models;
4. Establish a bigger space for computer maintenance workshop for all repair and upgrades of learners and staff computers, as well as computers from other stakeholders such as those coming from the immediate community;
5. Procure a complete collection of computer repair and upgrade tools, as well as network monitoring and management tools for the use of technicians in various computer repair and upgrades;
6. Achieve 100% license for all software used in various learning activities;
7. Put in place a formal refresh cycle for computer hardware as well as implement a regular software upgrade cycle for application packages for the whole institution.
8. Reduce the Technician to Learner ratio from the current 1:500 to an adequate 1:100; this will entail having additional 15-20 technicians after three years, in which 10% of the total will serve full time as repair and upgrade technicians in the workshop.
To be able to expand in this way, we have some organizational and resource requirements and challenges to overcome, which include:
1. Organizational stability in the area of well-trained personnel in their areas of expertise. This is important in regards to project realization.
2. Expansion would mean increase and improvement in the Centre’s (ETC) equipment and furniture.
3. Procurement, starting next fiscal year, of the following equipment and tools which are necessary to realize the goals of this development plan:
a. 25-35 new computers for trainees use each year
b. 20-25 new computers for staff use each year
c. at least 3 complete computer repair tool kits each year
d. at least 1 network monitoring and management tool/software each year
4. Establishment of additional computer laboratories (1 per year) and expansion and/or establishment of a computer maintenance workshop
5. Implementation and finalization of the operational guidelines of the three-year refresh cycle for computer machines for both trainees and staff
6. Buying of necessary licenses for all software (for those currently without license and those with expired license), and adopting a formal guideline for the license acquisition and renewal which can be similar to the hardware cycle or as the immediate needs arise
7. Hiring of additional 7 or 8 computer technicians per year in the areas of computer and network engineering.
The establishment of the Computer Maintenance Unit will help in improving the efficiency of operation of the CSS in particular and the ETC in general. Moreover, it can contribute to the improvement of the Centre’s production which will be beneficial not only to the Centre personnel but to the whole organizational community in the long run. As such, it is hoped that this proposal will be considered and will be given priority action.